by: Elizabeth Stoddard
- NDER a sultry,
- On the yellow sand I lie;
- The crinkled vapors smite my brain,
- I smoulder in a fiery pain.
- Above the crags the condor flies;
- He knows where the red gold lies,
- He knows where the diamonds shine;--
- If I knew, would she be mine?
- Mercedes in her hammock swings;
- In her court a palm-tree flings
- Its slender shadow on the ground,
- The fountain falls with silver sound.
- Her lips are like this cactus cup;
- With my hand I crush it up;
- I tear its flaming leaves apart;--
- Would that I could tear her heart!
- Last night a man was at her gate;
- In the hedge I lay in wait;
- I saw Mercedes meet him there,
- By the fireflies in her hair.
- I waited till the break of day,
- Then I rose and stole away;
- But left my dagger in the gate;--
- Now she knows her lover's fate!
MORE POEMS BY ELIZABETH STODDARD
"Mercedes" is reprinted
from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed.
Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.